Software development can be complex, with several departments involved in creating awesome new products and features to delight clients. In the traditional software development life cycle, developers receive client requirements and create software solutions as needed. The code they produce then goes to the Quality Assurance (QA) department where QA engineers test the code with a variety of tools and methods.
Ideally, all the teams in your development process work together seamlessly to produce the highest quality software products in the shortest time possible. Unfortunately, there has been historical friction between departments involved in development and QA. This tension can lead to intra-team difficulties, product delays, reduced productivity, and at its worst, talent retention issues.
Effectiveness Vs Efficiency
Friction between developers and QA engineers can arise due to differences in focus. Developers tend to focus on being efficient. They apply a variety of methods and tools to produce software that addresses client requirements as quickly as possible. With greater speed, however, comes the risk of bugs, security issues, and more. Over time, this can become technical debt.
A QA engineer focus on effectiveness. They add value to the product by catching bugs in development before they can become major problems down the line. They contribute to the iterative process of bug checking, fixing, and re-checking until the software is fit for release. In short, they work to assure the quality of products.
For developers, QA can be frustrating, as it forces them to review and refactor old code or in some cases produce entirely new solutions. A lack of transparency in QA testing can also add another level of frustration.
Getting Developers and QA Engineers on the same page
In traditional software development, it’s common for teams to operate in silos. Your developer teams may be separated from QA and IT operations. While this siloed system has worked in the past, it has also created opportunities for inter-team tension.
The following are some tips for getting your developers and QA engineers to work more closely together.
1. Embrace DevOps
The rise in popularity of DevOps principles has helped bridge the gap between teams in software development. Unlike the “waterfall” style of software development, DevOps focuses on the goal of Continuous Integration and Continuous Development. This increases the pace of software production and release, necessitating greater team inclusivity and cooperation.
2. Support Dynamic Communication
In traditional software development, code often ends up in a QA engineer’s hands long after it has been written by developers. The communication between teams can become static and sluggish over email. Dynamic solutions that encourage real-time communication like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or other instant messaging and video call platforms can help. The goal is to make communication between developers and QA engineers more fluid.
3. Share Client Requirements
Ensure that both your QA engineers and developers are involved in acquiring client requirements. When the end goal is interpreted differently, there can be difficulties coordinating efforts efficiently. However, if both parties share the same requirements, a QA engineer can become more integrated with developer efforts.
4. Encourage Developer Involvement in Testing
When developers are more involved in the testing, they can better understand where bugs show up. It also helps to de-mystify the QA process, which can be a source of frustration. Providing feedback to a QA engineer can help improve future testing efforts and cooperation long-term.
5. Make Pair Testing a Priority
An extension of encouraging developer and QA involvement is pair testing. Getting your developers and QA engineers to work together on the same testing and solution tasks creates a more transparent testing process. This gives QA more insight into how developers produce solutions and vice versa. This helps future test design and bug detection.
6. Make Quality a Shared Goal
Just as developers may prioritize writing great solutions to client needs, QA engineers might be prioritizing finding bugs. Neither of them are prioritizing producing the best quality software. When your teams are all focused on producing a high-quality product, there is no room for friction. Developers can work knowing that QA engineers are on their side, helping to produce better quality software.
QA Engineers and Developers can work together
Getting QA and Development on the same page is key to improving overall productivity and getting the best out of your software efforts. You developers and QA engineers need to be on board to make this a priority. At the end of the day, it’s to make your software production the best it can be. Learn more about measuring your team’s productivity here.